The Course focuses on the role of historical studies in Italy, between the culture of modernity and contemporary space, and on the fruitful link that exists between physiognomy and methodology of writing history in Italy. In the lectures the overall picture of the cultural context will be reconstructed historiographically, through the study of some of the major figures and historiographic and cultural events of both the Italian and the European twentieth century: from Croce to Volpe, from Chabod to Romeo, from De Felice to Candeloro, from Spadolini to Ragionieri; from Braudel to Furet, from the school of the «Annales» to Vernant, from Le Goff, to Namier, to Hobsbawm, to Palmer, to Popper, to Arendt, Berlin, Mosse, Nolte and Maravall.
Whether dealing with chronicles or the most demanding of medieval historical writings, Italy has invariably been a laboratory of innovations and reflections of great depth in the European context. Humanistic and historical historiography such as those of Machiavelli and Guicciardini do not arise as extemporaneous novelties in Renaissance Europe. This high profile is partly lost in Italian 'decadence', until Vico, Muratori, Giannone reopen a new great historiographic season. From the Risorgimento to the Republic the course of Italian historiography becomes multiple and differentiated, in growing connection with parallel European developments. In the twentieth century Italian historiography then becomes increasingly richer in voices and experiences, which makes it a remarkable account of contemporary culture, while always maintaining an original figure of interest and methods. Modern historiography is, in fact, one of the most original elaborations of the European tradition, and has been translated into one of its most important cultural and sociological fields. In the twentieth century it reached the peak of its development, and then went through a difficult identity crisis, which led to a revision of its methods, themes and criteria of judgment. It has become more and more apparent that the crisis in Italian historiography was an indication of the more widespread identity crises of the general historiographic tradition in which Italy’s contribution had been a pillar.